We start back at last Tuesday with Hampshire vs Worcestershire at The Rose Bowl. The Royals were put in and quickly slipped to 66-6, Dimi Mascarenhas (3-37) and Chris Tremlett (2-44) both in inspired form. However, Gareth Batty led a comeback with a spirited 52 and he was well supported by Kabir Ali (28), Gareth Andrew (30*) and swinging Steve Maggoffin (24*) as the Royals made 201-8. Hampshire themselves were soon 65-6, Simon Jones particularly impressive with 2-38, while Maggoffin (2-31) was similarly dangerous. However, Michael Brown (96*), the deputy wicket keeper, made his highest ever List A score and well supported by the captain, Mascarenhas making 56 from 89 balls, demonstrating that he has another side to his game. The Hawks won with thirteen balls to spare.
Steve Stubbings (95) and Chris Rodgers (94) shared an opening stand of 150 for Derbyshire against Lancashire at Derby, as The Phantoms made 288-5. Lancashire were blown away for 188 in reply, Tom Lungley (3-31) and Graham Wagg (2-34) the main destroyers, as only Francois du Plessis (54) offered any meaningful resistance. Lancashire seem to be really struggling with the bat this season and Gary Keedy’s run a ball 33 was evidence that batting was a good deal easier than they made it look.
There was a Twenty over aside game at Bristol where Gloucestershire hosted Hampshire. The Hawks were put in and could only muster 144-6, Michael Lumb (76) and Jon Lewis (3-17) the respective stars. In reply, Craig Spearman (71) did the damage with a typically belligerent knock and it was he and Mark Hardinges (49*) who rescued the side from 27-4 to take them home with two balls to spare, despite Shane Bond’s (3-11) best efforts on his return.
Glamorgan had 31 overs to bat against Worcestershire at Swansea, having been put into bat. They could only make 135-9 in that time, despite Jamie Dalrymple’s 47, Steve Maggoffin (3-19) and Kabir Ali (2-21) doing the damage up front. The Royals made it over the line with seventeen balls remaining, captain Vikram Solanki leading the way with 69.
Glam v Worcs @ Swansea: Simon Jones works up a pace close to 'home', and Vikram Solanki eases Worcestershire to victory again (Pics c/o RTE).
Essex were all out for 215 against Surrey at Chelmsford, having been put in, Varun Chopra top scoring with 79, as Jade Dernbach took 3-31, while there were two wickets apiece for Matt Nicholson (2-40), James Ormond (2-41) and James Benning (2-35), who was less economical. Surrey eased to victory, Scott Newman (52), Mark Butcher (66*) and Usman Afzaal (50*) all scoring fifties.
Defending Champions Durham made 230-6 at The Riverside against Scotland, as Phil Mustard (57) finally showed some form, with Neil McKenzie (68) also hitting fifty. John Blain was once again the pick of the Scottish bowlers (2-34). Brothers Steve (3-39) and Ben Harmison (3-43) shared six wickets as Scotland were all out for 192 in reply, Kyle McCallum making 60.
Scotland were in action at Headingley the following day and made a respectable 244, skipper Ryan Watson (54) and Colin Smith (60) each making fifty, despite the impressive bowling of Darren Gough (2-40) and the much hyped Adil Rashid (2-36). Dewald Nel (2-53) took two early wickets for the Scots to give them hope, but Anthony McGrath (105*) and Jaques Rudolph (82) put paid to any ideas of victory as Yorkshire won with 9.2 overs remaining.
There was a thrilling contest at Trent Bridge, where Nottinghamshire faced Ireland. Put into bat, The Outlaws made 241-6, Adam Voges (82) and Samit Patel (75) the main scorers, with “Irishman” Ravi Rampaul taking 3-40. Patel must be on the radar of the England selectors after his impressive start to the season. The Irish reply was all about Kevin O’Brien (93*), but unfortunately the Irish finished on 240-6, one run shy of a tie, with Luke Fletcher taking 2-41.
There was a much shortened game at Oakham School where Leicestershire welcomed Warwickshire. The Bears were put in and made 187-8, thanks in no small part to veteran Tony Frost (55*). Ryan Cummins (3-50) and James Allenby (2-40) were the best bowlers for The Foxes. At 53-2 from 19.3 overs the rain came and Warwickshire were awarded the victory via the Duckworth-Lewis method by 8 runs.
Our final game takes us again to The Riverside, where Durham opted to bat first against Derbyshire, Michael Di Venuto making 138. Phil Mustard was back to his old tricks, making a quick fire 24 before getting out. Meanwhile, Will Smith contributed 55. Graham Wagg (2-46) was the best Phantom bowler on show. Derbyshire were all out for 181 in reply, John Sadler the top scorer with 46, as Gareth Breese (5-41) ran through the line up.
Player of the Week: Michael Di Venuto certainly deserves a mention for his magnificent hundred, but the player of the week, for his 3-37 and patient 56 not out against Worcestershire in difficult batting conditions, is Dimi Mascarenhas, who will be hoping to be named in the England ODI squad this week.